The Thai lunar calendar (Thai: ปฏิทินจันทรคติ, RTGS: patithin chanthrakhati, pronounced [pà.tì.tʰīn tɕān.tʰrá.kʰā.tìʔ], literally, Specific days according to lunar norms), or Tai calendar, is a lunisolar Buddhist calendar. It is used for calculating lunar-regulated holy days. Based on the SuriyaYatra,[clarification needed] with likely influence from the traditional Hindu Surya Siddhanta, it has its own unique structure that does not require the Surya Siddhanta to calculate. Lunisolar calendars combine lunar and solar calendars for a nominal year of 12 months. An extra day or an extra 30-day month is intercalated at irregular intervals.
The Thai solar calendar (Thai: ปฏิทินสุริยคติ, RTGS: patithin suriyakhati, [pà.tì.tʰin sù.rī.já.kʰā.tìʔ]), Thailand's version of the Gregorian calendar, replaced the patithin chanthrakhati in AD 1888 / 2431 BE for legal and commercial purposes. In both calendars, the four principal lunar phases determine Buddhist Sabbaths (Uposatha), obligatory holy days for observant Buddhists. Significant days also include feast days.
Note that the Thai and the Chinese lunar calendars do not directly correspond. Thai Chinese likewise observe their Sabbaths and traditional Chinese holidays according to solar terms, two of which correspond to one lunar phase. These also move with respect to the solar calendar, and so it is common for Thai calendars to incorporate both Thai and Chinese lunar calendar-based events.
Mundane astrology also figures prominently in Thai culture, so modern Thai birth certificates include lunar calendar dates and the appropriate Thai Zodiacal animal year-name for Thai Hora (Thai: โหราศาสตร์, RTGS: horasat). The Thai Zodiac is similar to the Chinese, though the Dragon is replaced by the Naga (งูใหญ่), and in Northern Thailand the Pig is occasionally replaced with an Elephant.
Further information: Chula Sakarat, Lunar phase, and Solar term
To keep the years in sync with the seasons, Thai lunar years may add a day to the 7th month or repeat the 8th month. Therefore, years may have one of three lengths – 354, 355 or 384 days – yet retain a nominal length of twelve months.
The Thai lunar calendar does not mark the beginning of a new year when it starts a new 1-to-12 count, which occurs most frequently in December.
The Thai solar calendar determines a person's legal age and the dates of secular holidays, including the civil new year and the three days of the traditional Thai New Year, which begin the next Twelve-year animal cycle. Should the holidays fall on a weekend, it also accommodates these as well as some of the principal lunar festivals with a compensatory day off (Thai: วันชดเชย, RTGS: wan chotchoei).
Further information: Chinese zodiac
13 April of the solar calendar occasions the beginning of the traditional Thai New Year (Songkran) and is the day that a year assumes the name of the next animal in the twelve-year animal cycle; Thai Chinese communities may observe the name-change earlier in accordance with the Chinese New Year.
The Thai names of the months were borrowed from Khmer, which were in turn borrowed from an unknown Vietic language.
|Gregorian year||Chinese New Year's Day||Thai beginning 13 April||Animal|
|1997||Feb 7||Chalu (ฉลู)||
|1998||Jan 28||Khan (ขาล)||虎 Tiger|
|1999||Feb 16||Tho (เถาะ)||兔 Rabbit|
|2000||Feb 5||Marong (มะโรง)||龍 Dragon|
|2001||Jan 24||Maseng (มะเส็ง)||蛇 Snake|
|2002||Feb 12||Mamia (มะเมีย)||馬 Horse|
|2003||Feb 1||Mamae (มะแม)||羊 Goat|
|2004||Jan 22||Wok (วอก)||猴 Monkey|
|2005||Feb 9||Raka (ระกา)||雞 Rooster|
|2006||Jan 29||Cho (จอ)||狗 Dog|
|2007||Feb 18||Kun (กุน)||豬 Pig|
|2008||Feb 7||Chuat (ชวด)||鼠 Rat|
|2009||Jan 26||Chalu (ฉลู)||牛 Ox|
|2010||Feb 14||Khan (ขาล)||虎 Tiger|
|2011||Feb 3||Tho (เถาะ)||兔 Rabbit|
|2012||Jan 23||Marong (มะโรง)||龍 Dragon|
|2013||Feb 10||Maseng (มะเส็ง)||蛇 Snake|
|2014||Jan 31||Mamia (มะเมีย)||馬 Horse|
|2015||Feb 19||Mamae (มะแม)||羊 Goat|
|2016||Feb 08||Wok (วอก)||猴 Monkey|
|2017||Jan 28||Raka (ระกา)||雞 Rooster|
|2018||Feb 16||Cho (จอ)||狗 Dog|
|2019||Feb 05||Kun (กุน)||豬 Pig|
|2020||Jan 25||Chuat (ชวด)||鼠 Rat|
|2021||Feb 12||Chalu (ฉลู)||牛 Ox|
|2022||Feb 01||Khan (ขาล)||虎 Tiger|
|2023||Jan 22||Tho (เถาะ)||兔 Rabbit|
In the modern Thai calendar, months (Thai: เดือน, RTGS: duean, [dɯ̄an], meaning "month" or "Lunation") are defined by lunar cycles. Successive months (or lunations) are numbered from 1 to 12 within the Thai year. As in other Buddhist calendars, these months have names that derive from Sanskrit, but for the most part are only known by Thai astrologers.
Two successive lunations take slightly more than 59 days. The Thai lunar calendar approximates this interval with "normal-month" pairs (ปกติมาส, RTGS: pakatimat) that are alternately 29 and 30 days long. 29-day "hollow months" (เดือนขาด, RTGS: duean khat, [dɯ̄an kʰàːt]) are odd-numbered (เดือนคี่, RTGS: duean khi, [dɯːan.kʰî]); 30-day "full months" (เดือนถ้วน, RTGS: duean thuan, [dɯ̄an tʰûan]) are even-numbered (เดือนคู่, RTGS: duean khu, [dɯ̄an kʰûː]).
To keep the beginning of the month in sync with the new moon, from time to time either the normally "hollow" Month 7 takes an extra day, or an extra "full" Month 8 follows a normal "full" Month 8.
Months 1 and 2 are named in archaic alternate numbers, with the remainder being named in modern numbers.
Month 1, "duean ai" (เดือนอ้าย, [dɯ̄an ʔâːj]), begins the cycle of counting the months anew, most frequently in December, but does not signify the beginning of a new year. ai, an archaic word in Thai but not in other dialects, means first. An odd-numbered hollow month, it is 29 days long.
Month 2, "duean yi", (เดือนยี่, [dɯ̄an jîː], from archaic ญี่ meaning 2) is an even-numbered full month.
Months 3–6, "duean 3–6", use the modern reading of Thai numerals, as do all remaining months. Months 3–6, alternate between 29-day hollow months and 30-day full months.
Month 7, "duean 7", a hollow month is normally 29 days long in years of 354 days, but adds an extra day (อธิกวาร RTGS: athikawan) when required for 355-day-long years (ปีอธิกวาร, RTGS: pi athikawan).
The eighth month, "duean 8", is a 30-day full month.
Athikamat (อธิกมาส, Thai pronunciation: [à.tʰí.kà.mâːt])) is the extra month needed for a 384-day-long pi athikamat (extra-month year; ปีอธิกมาส, Thai pronunciation: [pī.à.tʰí.kà.mâːt]). Month 8 repeats as เดือน ๘/๘ or Month 8/8, variously read as "duean paet thab paet" (เดือนแปดทับแปด) or "duean paet lang" (เดือนแปดหลัง)
Months 9–12, "duean 9–12", complete the lunar cycle.
Months divide into two periods designated by whether they are waxing or waning:
A week is called Sapda/Sappada (Thai: สัปดาห์, [sàp.dāː, sàp.pà.dāː]). The term is defined by the Royal Institute Dictionary (RID) as a 7-day period beginning on Sunday and ending Saturday. When referring to lunations, however, it is the 7-, 8- or (rarely) 9-day interval between quartile lunar phases; that is, from one วันพระ to the next.
While solar-calendar weekdays have names, lunar-calendar days number sequentially from 1 to 14 or 15 in two segments depending on whether the moon is waxing or waning. For example, "raem 15 kham duean 12 แรม ๑๕ ค่ำ เดือน ๑๒" means "Waning of the 15th Night of the 12th Lunar Month".
Kham ค่ำ , evening, is considered to be the evening of the common day that begins and ends at midnight, rather than of a day that begins and ends at dusk. Past practice may have been different.
Main article: Public holidays in Thailand
Buddhist Sabbaths, colloquially called วันพระ, are the New, First-quarter, Full, and Third-quarter Moon-days. These are not normally days off (วันหยุด), except for butcher, barber, and beautician shops that observe the Eight Precepts. Annual holidays and seasonal festivals collectively are called วันนักขัตฤกษ์.
Festivals or fairs are called เทศกาล; these may be further styled as ประเพณี "traditional" and as Thai: พิธี, "rite" or "ceremony". The table shows the principal ones governed by the moon in yellow.
Work holidays prescribed by the government are called Thai: วันหยุดราชการ; those regulated by the moon are red.
Weekends are normally days off; if a holiday normally observed by a day off falls on a weekend, the following Monday is a compensatory day off Thai: วันชดเชย.
|Work holidays||and||festivals||regulated by the moon: x = waxing moon; n = waning|
|3†||1x||Chinese New Year||ตรุษจีน||Most shops owned by Chinese-Thai close|
|3||15x||Magha Puja||วันมาฆบูชา||Makha Bucha|
|8‡||15x||Asalha Puja||อาสาฬหบูชา||Asanha Bucha|
|8‡||1n||Wan Khao Phansa||วันเข้าพรรษา||Begin Rains Retreat, or "Buddhist Lent"|
|10||15n||Thetsakan Sat||เทศกาลสารท||The Vegetarian Festival (เทศกาลวันสารท) now appears on calendars as thetsakan kin che kao wan (เทศกาลกินเจเก้าวัน), (begin) Nine-day Vegetarian Festival. Kin Jae  means (to vow) in the manner of Vietnamese or Chinese Buddhists to eat a strict vegetarian diet. (เทศกาลกินเจ)|
|11||15x||Wan Ok Phansa||วันออกพรรษา||End Rains Retreat, or "Buddhist Lent"|
|11||1n||Thot Kathin||ทอดกฐิน||Presentation of Monk's Robes after Rains Retreat|
|12||15x||Loi Krathong||ลอยกระทง||Note that Loi Krathong dates are based on the Lanna (Northern Thailand) Lunar Calendar which is two months later than the Thai Lunar Calendar. Loy Krathong is actually on the second month of the Lanna calendar which is the 12th month of the central Thai calendar.|
Thai orthography spells most native words phonetically, though there is no definitive system for transcription into Roman letters. Here, native Thai words are immediately followed by a vocabulary entry in this pattern:
Sanskrit loan words follow different rules [the way English grammatical rules vary for words of Greek and Latin origin ('ph-' in 'phonetic' being pronounced /f/, for example.)] Entered below in order of first appearance, these vocabulary entries are in this pattern:
Literally means "self-made" or "self-done", or "cultured" in a modern usage (which implies the language of cultured persons); Sanskrit alphabet, language, writing; [presumed] compound of
(5.1) ...names would be known only by Thai astrologers (Prasert Na Nagara 1998:524).
(5.1) ...the common Thai practice is simply to refer to lunar months by number, e.g. [du'an s:am], 'third lunar month'. For the first and second lunar months, the older Thai counting forms [a:y] and [yi:] are used. Thus the first lunar month is commonly [du'an a:y], equivalent in more obscure astrological parlance to [maru'khasira-ma:t].
(5.1) [Month 1] refers to a full moon occurring near the designated part of Orion, which most frequently happens in December.